A World War II veteran gets married near the Normandy landing beaches. He is 100 years old and his fiancée is 96 years old.

CARENTAN-LES-MARAIS, France — Together, the collective age of the bride and groom was almost 200 years old. But World War II veteran Harold Terens and his sweetheart Jeanne Swerlin proved that love lasts forever when they got married Saturday inland from D-Day beaches of Normandy, France.

Their respective ages – he is 100, she is only 96 – made their nuptials a celebration of almost two centuries. The New York natives — who say they keep themselves young by dancing to their favorite music and holding hands — met three years ago in Boca Raton, Florida.

On “CBS Evening News” earlier this week, Terens shared his feelings for Swerlin.

“I’m getting married because I love this girl,” he said. “She’s one of the most gorgeous women.”

On her way to the nuptials, the bubbly bride-to-be said: “It’s not just for young people, my love, you know? We also have butterflies.

American World War II veteran Harold Terens, 100, left, and Jeanne Swerlin, 96, kiss from a window after celebrating their wedding at the town hall in Carentan-les-Marais, Normandy, France northwest of France, Saturday June 8, 2024. Together, the collective age of the bride and groom was almost 200 years old. But Terens and his sweetheart Jeanne Swerlin proved that love is eternal by tying the knot on Saturday on the landing beaches in Normandy, France.

Jérémie González/AP

The location was the elegant stone town hall of Carentan, a key initial D-Day objective that was the scene of fierce fighting after the June 6, 1944 Allied landings that helped rid Europe of the tyranny of ‘Adolf Hitler.

Like other towns and villages on the Normandy coast where nearly 160,000 Allied soldiers landed under fire on five code-named beaches, it is an effervescent center of remembrance and celebration of the 80th anniversary of the deeds and sacrifices young men and women that day, decorated with flags and banners and veterans fed like rockstars.

As Glenn Miller’s swing and other vintage tunes echoed through the streets, well-wishers – some wearing World War II-era clothing – were already lining up behind the barriers a good hour before the wedding. in front of the town hall, with lively bagpipes and a drum group also present to serenade the happy couple.

After having both declared “yes” to the wishes read by the mayor of Carentan in English, the spouses exchanged rings.

“With this ring I got married,” Terens said.

She laughed and gasped, “Really?”

Flutes of champagne in hand, they waved through an open window to the adoring crowd outside.

“To the good health of all. And to world peace and to the preservation of democracy everywhere and to the end of the war in Ukraine and Gaza,” Terens said as he and his new wife clinked glasses and drank.

The crowd shouted “the bride!” ” -the bride! – to Swerlin, who wore a long, flowing dress in bright pink. Terens looked dapper in a light blue suit and a matching pink scarf in his breast pocket.

And they are expected to attend a very special wedding evening: they have been invited to the state dinner at the Elysée on Saturday evening with President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden, the mayor said.

The marriage was symbolic and not legally binding. Mayor Jean-Pierre Lhonor’s office said he was not authorized to marry foreigners who did not reside in Carentan and that the couple, both Americans, had not requested legally binding vows. However, they could still complete these formalities in Florida if they wished.

Honor likes to say that Normandy is practically the 51st state of the United States, given its respect and gratitude for the deeds and sacrifices of the tens of thousands of Allied troops who never returned from the Battle of Normandy.

“Love is forever, yes, maybe,” the mayor said, referring to the newlyweds, although his comments also aptly describe the feelings of many Normans toward veterans.

“I hope they have the best happiness together.”

Dressed in a 1940s dress that belonged to her mother, Louise, and a red beret, Jane Ollier, 73, was one of the early risers waiting to catch a glimpse of the lovebirds.

“It’s so touching to get married at this age,” she says. “If it can bring them happiness in the last years of their life, that’s fantastic.”

The World War II veteran first visited France at the age of 20, when he was a corporal in the United States Air Force, shortly after D-Day. was enlisted in 1942 and, after shipping to Britain, was attached to a four-pilot P-47 Thunderbolt fighter squadron as a radio repair technician.

On D-Day, Terens helps repair planes returning from France so that they can join the battle. He said half of his company’s pilots died that day. Terens himself traveled to France 12 days later, helping to transport freshly captured Germans and newly released American prisoners of war to England. After the Nazi surrender in May 1945, Terens again helped transport freed Allied prisoners to England before returning them to the United States a month later.

The couple, both widowed, grew up in New York: she in Brooklyn, he in the Bronx.

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